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Syria Army Says it Destroyed Israel Vehicle in Golan

Syria's army destroyed an Israeli military vehicle which it said had crossed the sensitive ceasefire line in the Golan Heights on Tuesday, the military said in a televised statement.

"Our armed forces have destroyed an Israeli vehicle with everything that it had in it... The vehicle had crossed the ceasefire line and was moving towards the village of Bir Ajam, situated in the liberated Syrian zone" of the Golan, it said.

The incident comes amid rising tensions between the two countries.

But the Jewish state denied one of its vehicles had been destroyed.

The incident came after the Jewish state said its forces had come under fire overnight on the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights.

In a statement, the Israeli military said an army vehicle was damaged in the incident, and that its soldiers returned fire.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli soldiers patrolling the disputed Golan Heights along the border with Syria fired back after coming under fire overnight, an Israeli Defense Forces statement said.

"Overnight, shots were fired at an IDF patrol on the border in the central Golan Heights, damaging a military vehicle," said a statement on the army's website. No one had been wounded, it added.

"In response, IDF forces returned precise fire at the source of the gunfire. They reported a direct hit," the statement added.

"The IDF views the recent incidents in the north with concern and has lodged a complaint with UNDOF," the U.N. Disengagement Force responsible for patrolling that area.

On Monday, the army reported that small-arms fire from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights overnight, causing no harm or damage. The army also filed a complaint with the U.N. force on that occasion.

The conflict in Syria has regularly spilled over into the Golan, with four incidents in recent weeks in which fire has strayed across the ceasefire line between the two countries.

It has generally been regarded as accidental spillover not intended to specifically target Israeli troops, though Israel made no statement on whether the latest incident was accidental.

The alleged destruction of the vehicle follows a series of reported Israeli attacks on Syrian soil, including air strikes on May 5 that hit three military sites outside Damascus, killing at least 42 people.

That attack came just days after an air raid in the early hours of May 3 that a source told AFP had destroyed surface-to-air missiles being stored at Damascus airport.

Israel has refused to officially acknowledge the raids, though it has implicitly admitted carrying out a similar strike earlier this year.

But senior Israeli sources have said the Jewish state was behind all three attacks, and was acting to prevent the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah, a staunch ally of the Syrian regime.

Syria has frequently accused the rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar Assad's regime of working with Israel.

The two countries are still technically at war.

Source: Agence France Presse


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